Early works: dream allegory tradition. Troilus and Criseyde: major work (based on Boccaccio’s Il Filostrato – minor Homeric figures, medievalised Troy), almost like an early novel. The Canterbury Tales: his major work, unfinished; it is a collection of 24 stories of different kinds told by members of a company of pilgrims on their journey from the Tabard Inn in Southwark to Canterbury.
Medieval English drama originates from Christian liturgy and it has no connection with the drama of Antiquity (the influence of the classical tradition appears only in the Renaissance). It started with the dramatisation of Christ’s life – first as a simple dialogue between the priest and the choir, and later groups of characters acted out the story (as part of the mass). In England it started in the 10th century, with the Easter morning mass. At first these were performed in Latin, with vernacular (English) elements appearing in it. Development: spoken in the choir at first; later the performance was extended down the nave, finally it moved out of the church, first to the churchyard, then to the marketplace or the meadow. Outside the church English replaced Latin, and the story element moved away from the liturgy to use the whole range of sacred history from the Creation to the Last Judgement. Secularisation – paralleled by the physical movement (from sacred to profane), transition from the liturgical drama to mystery and miracle plays (= medieval drama)